- How you can help!
A drug addict usually doesn't know he/she is out of control. He looks at his drug-using peers and his own use appears normal in comparison. He needs objective feedback on his behavior.
It was once thought that an alcoholic or other drug abuser had to "hit bottom" before help could be offered and accepted. It was also thought that a drug addict could only get better if he was self-motivated to change. This point of view has changed to the view that a skilled counselor can motivate an addict toward recovery. This is called intervention.
Intervention is a process that helps an addict recognize the extent of his problem. Through a non-judgmental, non-critical, systematic process, the drug addict is confronted with the impact of his alcoholism or drug use on others. The goal of intervention is for him to accept the reality of his drug addiction and to seek help.
STEPS OF INTERVENTION
A) This can be a challenging situation. An addict cannot be forced to get help except under certain circumstances, such as when a violent incident results in the police being called or following a medical emergency. This doesnt mean, however, that you have to wait for a crisis to make an impact. Based on clinical experience, many treatment specialists recommend the following steps to help an addict accept treatment:
1. Stop all rescue missions. Family members often try to protect an addict from the results of his behavior by making excuses to others about his addiction problem and by getting him out of drug-related jams. It is important to stop all such rescue attempts immediately, so that the addict will fully experience the harmful effects of his useand thereby become more motivated to stop.
2. Dont enable him. Sometimes family members feel sorry for the addict or tend to avoid the addict, letting him come and go as he pleases. This comes across to the addict as a rewardafter all, all he wants is to be left alone. Be careful not to reward by paying his bills, bailing him out of jail, letting him stay for free, etc. This kind of reward creates an exchange that benefits the addict and promotes criminal behavior.
3. Time your intervention. If possible, plan to talk with the addict when he is straight. Pick a time when all of you are in a calm frame of mind and when you can speak privately.
4. Be specific. Tell the family member that you are concerned about his addiction and want to be supportive in getting help. Back up your concern with examples of the ways in which his drug use has caused problems for you, including any recent incidents.
5. State the consequences. Tell the family member that until he gets help, you will carry out consequences. This is not intended to punish the addict, but to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the addiction. These may range from refusing to be with the person when they are under the influence, to having them move out of the house. DO NOT make any threats you are not prepared to carry out. The basic intention is to make the addicts life more uncomfortable if he continues using drugs than it would be for him to get help.
6. Find strength in numbers with the help of family members, relatives, and friends to confront the addict as a group. Choose one person to be the initial spokesperson. It will be much more effective for the others to simply be there nodding their heads, than it would be for everyone to talk at once and gang up on him. Remember the idea is to make it safe for him to come clean and seek help.
7. Listen. If during your intervention the addict begins asking questions like; Where would I have to go? For how long? This is a sign that he is reaching for help. Do not directly answer these questions. Instead, have him call in and talk to a professional. Support him. Dont wait. Once youve gotten his agreement, get him admitted immediately. Therefore, you should have a bag packed for him, any travel arrangements made, and prior acceptance into a program.